Yay, it’s proper TV season again! All my lovely shows are back from hiatus, plus we’ve gotten a couple of new interesting shows. In total there are actually over 20 new shows, but only a handful of them seem worthwhile or promising. I’ll review those once I’ve watched more episodes; I always find you need to give a new show a 3-6 episodes to find its feet.
Today though I’ll review the new seasons of 4 of my current favourite shows: Once Upon A Time, Castle, How I Met Your Mother and Grey’s Anatomy. Obviously: beware of spoilers for previous seasons. I’ll list under the titles which episodes of this season I’ve seen so far (and might potentially spoil).
Once Upon A Time
S2E01 Broken, S2E02 We Are Both, S2E03 Lady of the Lake
It took a while for me to get into the first season of Once Upon A Time, but it ended up being one of my favourite shows last year. I’ve been waiting patiently all summer to see how the writers would deal with the Storybrooke characters getting their memories back and how they’d deal with Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. I was a bit disappointed what that is concerned by the season opening; it all felt a bit too easy. I did love the twist in that first episode though where the “flashback” scenes turn out not to be flashbacks at all. Plus it’s interesting having Emma and Snow in the fairy tale world, trying to get back home and dealing with being mother and daughter.
I think my only problem so far with this season is that there are now quite a lot of characters and they all have to share screen time. For instance, we haven’t seen Mr Gold and Belle since the first episode, and Regina was barely in the third episode. Besides that I don’t like the new characters Mulan and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). I’m hoping they’ll become a bit more interesting once we get some more dedicated fairytale flashbacks about them. Fairy tale/Disney characters I wish they’d add: Ariel (although not sure how they’ll do mermaids in our world) and Simba (just to see how in the hell they’ll pull that off).
S5E01 After The Storm, S2E02 Cloudy With A Chance of Murder, S2E03 Secret’s Safe With Me, S2E04 Murder, He Wrote
Caskett! We finally get to see Castle and Beckett as a couple, and so far it’s been awesome. They’re great together and the chemistry between them has only gotten better. I was scared to see how the show would deal with it (so many other shows that relied on the “will they, won’t they” angle have failed miserably), but the writers have done a great job. The murder-of-the-week plots are predictable as ever, but who cares, it’s still a lot of fun.
How I Met Your Mother
S8E01 Farhampton, S8E02 The Pre-Nup, S8E03 Nannies, S8E04 Who Wants To Be A Godparent?
I can’t believe I’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother for 8 years now… It makes me feel old. To make me myself feel even older, consider this: How I Met Your Mother started after Friends finished, which had 10 seasons…
How I Met Your Mother is always a bit hit and miss for me; some episodes I love and laugh so much, others are just boring and not funny at all. I really enjoyed the first two episodes of this season, and am still so curious to see who the mother turns out to be. I know it’s a bit of a gimmick, but I’m still enjoying it. The latest two episodes though I didn’t like. I’m not sure if that’s cause they’re focusing on Marshall’s and Lily’s now baby-filled life (which I couldn’t care less about) or if it’s just bad writing.
I’m also curious to see if this will be the final season and we’ll finally find out who the mother is. The writers previously have said that this will be the season where we find out the mother’s identity and that if they get renewed they’ll do something interesting for the season after that. One idea I quite liked was a season full of flashbacks from the mother’s perspective.
Here’s the second part of my TV Show Retrospective! I’ve received some questions on why I’m not reviewing shows like Homeland and Touch. Well, I’m simply not doing them, cause I haven’t seen them myself. I do need to catch up on them, but it would be a bit silly to cover them here, while I’ve never watched a single episode.
What new shows have you been watching? Do you agree with my reviews?
Plot: Set a 100 years after The Last Airbender, it revolves around the new Avatar Korra as she learns the art of airbending.
The season finale of this aired just last weekend and: WOW! I love this show. The writers have done a great job doing it a bit different this time around. The characters are older (which allows for some more realistic scenarios and romantic subplots), the world is more awesome (it’s set in a sort of steampunk/early 1920s New York) and the story is again intriguing and compelling. You really get the feeling that the writers have figured out exactly where they are going, and not making it up as they go along. Instead of having other benders as the villains (like the did in The Last Airbender), now the bad guys are anti-bending… and it raises a lot of interesting questions and issues for you to think about.
Plot: A detective from 2077 accidentally gets transported back to our time together with a group of terrorists.
Yay, for a sci-fi show! It’s not the best sci-fi, but for a summer show it’s at least fulfilling part of my craving for a good ol’ SF plot. Rachel Nichols (last season of Alias, G.I. Joe) plays Kiera Cameron, a detective from a futuristic, well, future. As with Terra Nova, Continuum suffers from the face that the future world looks so much more interesting then our time; in 2077 the US government has collapsed and is now controlled by mega-corporations, with terrorists fighting for freedom against that corporate regime. Each episode though we do at least get to spend some time in the future with Kiera flashing back to events in her past, and it gives an interesting view of the future. The show opens with you briefly thinking that it’s the terrorists you should be rooting for, but you soon find out that Kiera is a detective working for the corporate government. It’s an interesting take on things, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a twist sometime soon. I also like how the show deals with the time travel aspect, explaining the different scenarios (is this a separate timeline? Or is she influencing her own past?).
Plot: A young woman returns to the Hamptons to take down the family that put her father in jail.
This initially got promoted as “based on The Count of Monte Cristo”. I’ve never gotten around to reading that, but now I’m certainly curious to see how many elements they initially grabbed out of the book. Emily VanCamp is great as Emily/Amanda, making her likeable and relatable, yet also apprehensible in her need for vengeance. It’s a thin line to balance on, and with a worse actress this show could have quickly gone wrong. Just as fascinating is Madelaine Stowe as the Grayson’s family matriarch Victoria; you can just feel her contempt and cunning in every scene she’s in. The first few episodes felt quite “story-of-the-week” and stand-alone-ish, but as the show progressed it got less procedural and much more entwined and intriguing. I also love the clothes in this show! Both Emily and Victoria get to wear some awesome dresses (although Ashley’s dresses are more similar to my own style).
Plot: A sitcom version of every Zooey Deschanel movie.
New Girl can be funny and cringe-worthy at the same time. Jess is such a quirky character, that sometimes you don’t know if you’re supposed to like her or be annoyed by her. I also occasionally recognize bits of myself in her… and cringe cause I can imagine myself doing similar things (I’m not sure how much that says about me).
Plot: Uptown ex-rich dumb blonde and working class sarcastic brunette start a cupcake business.
My rule with sitcoms is: if it makes me laugh at least once per episode, it’s worth watching. And 2 Broke Girls definitely achieves that. It’s not the smartest bit of television currently on air and some of the jokes are obvious and borderline offensive, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Plot: The creator of Grey’s Anatomy + a “fixer” in Washington, D.C.
Olivia Pope “fixes” things. Problems, scandals, her firm handles them and deals with the media until they go away or until people think differently about them. The first season is only 7 episodes (a trial run to see how it got received), but has now already been renewed for a full season. I’m amazed how much they got to fit in just 7 episodes! By episode 6 you’re already invested in Olivia’s character and her relationships with certain people. By focusing so much on Olivia though, the other characters at her firm get kind of sidelined; this show feels as if it should be an ensemble show and it has characters that look interesting enough, but so far I don’t think we’ve seen enough of them yet. The glimpses that we have seen though are very intriguing and I’m hoping we’ll see more of them next season (judging by the season finale though, I think we will).
It’s been almost a month since the 2011/2012 TV season ended, giving me enough time to catch up on some of the shows and finally watch their season finales. I thought when this season started that there weren’t going to be any new good shows; most of the trailers at the time didn’t seem that interesting and a lot of the pilot episodes just didn’t catch my eye. Looking back now though I have to admit it was an okay season for new shows, especially the more girly ones!
I tend to have a short-list of shows I’ll watch straight away and shows that will go on the back burner for when I’ve run out of the “good” stuff (or keep them for during summer). And some of the new shows went straight to the top of my short-list (some of them it took a while to get into, others are still on the back burner). My only complaint: we need more scifi on TV!
Btw, all the shows I’m reviewing here have been picked up for the next season. Yay! The only show that I was really watching that didn’t get picked up was Terra Nova which I have to admit wasn’t that great (it had a lot of potential though). There are also some new shows that I’m skipping here (like Touch and Grimm), cause I just haven’t had the time to watch those yet.
This post turned out to be quite long, so I’ve split it up into two parts. Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on Revenge, The Legend of Korra, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, Scandal and Continuum.
Plot: What if a machine existed that could analyze all CCTV footage, all phone calls, all transactions, all online activity and based off of these could predict when crimes happened?
If you can suspend your belief of such a machine existing, Person of Interest is a great show. Each episode the “machine” provides our main characters with the social security number of someone who will be involved in a crime, but they don’t know whether this person will be the victim or the perpetrator. It’s a good setup for a procedural “crime-of-the-week” show and could have easily gone the wrong way of procedurals, but Person of Interest stays interesting by adding two mysterious protagonists and a couple of intriguing season story arches.
It’s produced by JJ Abrams and created by Jonathan Nolan, so that should tell you how twisty and mysterious this will get. Michael Emerson (Ben in Lost) plays Harold Finch, the software genius that created the machine, and Jim Caviezel plays John Reese, the ex soldier with a very shady past. I love the banter between these two, and as the season progresses you find out more and more about both of them. While the actual technology behind the machine seems unlikely and glossed over at times (just the amount of processing power needed to do what the machine does is even now still unthinkable), I find the show does handle the consequences of dealing with such a machine in the right way.
Plot: Behind the scenes of creating a musical about Marilyn Monroe.
What do you get if you add Steven Spielberg, the composer and lyricist of Hairspray and a bunch of Broadway and Hollywood actors? Smash. The show is about all the people involved in getting a Broadway musical off the ground: Julia (Debra Messing), the lyricist, and her writing partner/composer, Tom (Christian Borle); Derek (Jack Davenport), the annoying director; Eileen (Anjelica Houston), the producer; and the two contenders for the role of Marilyn, small town girl and newbie Karen (Katherine McPhee) and, seasoned Broadway performer, Ivy (Megan Hilty).
What I love about is Smash is how it actually is creating new songs for a potentially new musical. There are some awesome numbers in the first season, and throughout the season I kept wishing I could see this musical on stage. The weakness of the show though is clearly in its storytelling; while the main thread of creating the musical is interesting and handled right, there are a couple of side stories and accompanying dialogue that feels awkward. Next season though there will be another show runner so hopefully those problems will be fixed soon.
Plot: Half fairy tale fantasy, half modern day drama.
It took me a few episodes to get into Once Upon A Time. At first glance it looks like a flaky fantasy show with a not that great visual effects budget, but after a while the story reels you right in with its balance of fairy tale fantasy and real word drama. The show is about Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) whose biological son Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) claims that his adoptive mother Regina Mills (Lana Parilla) is the Evil Queen and has bewitched the entire village of Storybrooke. Besides that story though half the episodes also take place in the fairy tale world, showing reinterpretations of classic tales like Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and more.
I love the balance of those two worlds, and I think it’s because of that balance that the show never feels too cheesy. As the story progresses, we get to see more and more of the background of the fairy tale characters and I like how they’ve twisted and merged some of those stories into something completely new. While some episodes can be a tad predictable, I’ve been more often than not surprised by which direction they’ve taken it; it’s a show that keeps you guessing about where it’s going, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
I also love love love the costume design and styling on this show. The gowns and costumes the Evil Queen and the other fairy tale characters wear are amazing; some of them are just so gorgeous! Next to that the makeup and hair styling is always spot on; I really want a dark evil red lipstick that I can pull off.
Plot: A big city surgeon inherits a small town practice in Bluebell, Alabama.
Hart of Dixie is one of my favourite new girly TV shows. Take Summer from The O.C. (Rachel Bilson), mix in a Gilmore Girls-esque picturesque town, and a pinch of quirky and quick dialogue. Rachel Bilson is adorable as Doctor Zoe Hart, and while I have a bit of a hard time believing her as a doctor, she’s great as the girl trying to fit into a new town. The show does feel a lot like a newer Gilmore Girls, with the town having every other week yet another quirky event (like the annual Bluebell gumbo competition or the annual Sweetie Pie Dance).
Plot: A foster care system girl finds out she has a twin sister, who got adopted into a wealthy family. They switch places so that the rich girl can track down their birth mother.
The Lying Game is what I was hoping Ringer would be. Two sisters: one bitchy and rich girl, who takes her family and money for granted, and the poor little foster care girl, who now has a chance to experience a family. It’s as soapy as can be, but I like it anyway. Here at least you can’t help but feel for the main character Emma, when she gets into trouble cause of what her bitchy twin Sutton has done in the past (unlike in other soapy shows where you just can’t empathise with a character because of something stupid they themselves have done).
I thought this show’s first season had ended, but it turns out it got an extra 8 episodes that just started last week! It’s another girly teen drama, with loads of mix-ups, sneaking about and high school romances. Jane is a bit of a quirky outcast at school that accidentally gets mistaken for an adult when interviewing for an intern role at a fashion design house. She ends up landing the job as the personal assistant to Gray (Andie MacDowell), but struggles with juggling her high school life and work life. It’s a fun show, and it’s great following Jane discover the world of fashion. As expected the styling in this show is awesome; there are so many dresses I so want to have (most of the times the ones that India is wearing)!
It’s that time of the year again, when you’re favourite TV shows have gone on hiatus and most summer shows haven’t started yet. I always fill in this gap with watching the shows I failed to watch during the normal season. Some of these I had already been following, but just couldn’t be bothered with watching it every single week (like Lost and 24, they work so much better when you watch them in giant chunks). Others are completely new shows that (most of the time) have been picked up for another season, and seem to be worth my time.
One of those shows is Being Erica, aired by CBC in Canada. So far there are 2 seasons (of 13 and 12 episodes) and it’s been renewed for a third series. It’s about Erica Strange, a 30-something well-educated woman, who should have the perfect life. She’s smart, pretty, has a good degree, so why is she working at a call center in a dead end job? Erica blames it on bad choices in her past, and when the mysterious Dr Tom comes along, he gives her the chance to undo her past regrets. Erica gets to time travel back into her past and relive her worst regrets.
I love the concept of this show! It’s reminiscent to Quantum Leap, only Erica always jumps back to a point in her own life. The first season see her redo things, like not getting drunk at her high school prom and joining the Skull & Bones-like secret society at her university. Don’t expect too much mystery and intrigue about the time travel bit though; Lost fans will be disappointed here. Being Erica is really about the choices Erica get to redo and her relationships with those around her.
Here’s a clip with scenes from the first season:
I’m really loving this show, I watched both seasons within a week! And I can’t wait until the third season starts. So will you be watching Being Erica?
Ever wanted to own a prop of your favourite TV show? If Dollhouse was your fave, here’s your chance. Priya’s painting from Sierra’s background episode “Belonging” is on auction on eBay to raise money for charity. The proceeds will go to the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, a nonprofit, academic, pediatric medical center.They provide the highest quality healthcare for children who are the sickest and most seriously injured in the Southen California region.
During the filming of the episode Michael Voelker, who works in the art department as a set dresser, brought his son Hunter to set. Hunter Marlowe Voelker is two years old and was recently diagnosed with ALL (acute lympoblastic leukemia). He is an adorable, positive kid and to call him a trooper doesn’t cover it.
Anyway, we were standing around the painting a few days later, talking about what would happen to it when the show was done. Would it fit in our living room? And then we got on the subject of the devoted, pro-active fans of the series and how they would love to own this. Maybe we could auction it off! For a bunch of money! And then use that money to build a private glow-in-the-dark jacuzzi water-slide park in our back yard! Or we could give it to charity, I guess…
At the moment, the bid for the painting is $4350… so does anyone have at least $4400 available? Here’s how the painting looks like :
BEWARE – after the photo are SPOILERS for the Dollhouse finale
So have you seen the Dollhouse finale yet? The penultimate episode with the current day wrap-up was a bit of a letdown for me. Some great acting especially from Enver Gjokaj (Victor) with a return of his Topher-Victor. Man, that guy can channel other actors eerily (found out he’s actually playing the young version of Robert de Niro in the upcoming Stone, can’t wait to see that). But most of the plot just felt rushed and clunky.
The last episode though? That was awesome. It wasn’t perfect, but I loved that it at least had a complete full circle story. Things I liked:
Topher. I loved him from the beginning. Even though he was bit annoying at the start, he was the only one with funny lines and the only character that, well, showed character. Through the last season he became a more sympathetic character. That final scene with him and Adelle was so sweet!
Victor and the Mad Max rebels. It might have been a little over the top, but it was interesting to see how they used the tech and had adapted to it. Plus the whole Priya/Victor thing was interesting to see, especially cause we got to see the consequences of their decisions from the previous episode.
Ballard getting shot. I should have expected something like this from Joss Whedon. It didn’t hurt as much as previous of his ‘killings’ (Angel, Doyle, Wesley, Wash, Penny and more), I think I as a viewer wasn’t as invested in Ballard as in other characters, but it was still heartbreaking to see the effect it had on Echo.
Things I didn’t like: the Ballard/Echo ending (kind of sweet, but also kind of creepy if you think it through). The all-powerful MacGuffin that solved the entire brainwiping in one go. I wish we could have seen more of the future world, and I wonder how this show would have continued if Whedon had gotten more seasons.
So that’s it for Dollhouse. What’s next for Whedon I wonder?
I started off this TV season with trying to review whatever I watched weekly, but I quickly fell behind with that. I’ll try to keep it up a bit more when the shows come back in January, cause I do like writing about the shows I watch this way. For now, I’ll just review what I’ve seen so far: we’re halfway through the 2009/2010 season, with most shows going on a break for the Christmas holiday (or longer). I watch a quite a bit though, so I’ll be doing these reviews in multiple parts (at least 3 I think).
Warning: it should be pretty obvious, but there will be spoilers. Mainly for seasons prior to the current one, but also some stuff about the current season. I’m trying to keep spoilers to the current season at a minimum though.
This has got to be my new favourite show this season! I love the musical numbers they do each episode, and some of the guest stars they’ve had are amazing (loooved Kristen Chenoweth). So many of the songs have been added to my music library, of which most of them I like more than the originals. Highlights for me were Don’t Stop Believin’, Maybe This Time, Somebody To Love and Defying Gravity. Here’s the Glee version of Defying Gravity:
While I love the songs, the story lines don’t always work for me. I think it’s mainly because I’m liking the side characters more than the ones they are focusing on. I want to see more of Kurt, Mercedes, Artie and Tina! I loved the one episode focusing on Kurt and Artie (Wheels); we finally got to see a softer side to Sue Silvester and Kurt’s story with his dad was just touching. But why don’t we see what happens with Artie and Tina? They just left us hanging there, and it hasn’t been revisited since.
I’m glad the two main “secrets” were finally revealed, maybe they can focus now on some other things. I really liked the one-off pairing of Puck and Rachel, and I hope maybe the writers go in that direction again. Plus I like Puck’s voice way better than Finn’s who seems to be getting most of the main guy vocals (even Kurt’s and Artie’s voices I prefer over Finn). One final thing: yay for Emma and Will!
Glee returns on April 13 in the US (eek, that’s a long wait!) and will begin airing in the UK on Monday January 11th (re-airing the pilot at 9pm with the second episode straight after it).
The Vampire Diaries
This series had a rocky start for me, cause I was constantly comparing it to the books they’re based on. They are loosely, very loosely based on the books, with characters and events kind of inspired by them. Around episode 4 I accepted that they weren’t like the books and started following it with a more open mind. It reminds me a lot of Roswell, which weirdly enough were also based on books I loved and which turned out nothing like those books, but was still enjoyable. Mysterious stranger comes to town, girl-next-door falls for him, attacks on people in the town are being made, alien/vampire boy knows it’s someone like him, girl finds out he’s not “from this world”, they team up to find who is behind the attacks. Both Roswell and Vampire Diaries fit this description, right?
Is it great TV? Well, it’s not the type of show to win awards or stuff like that. But like Roswell, it’s so enjoyable. Ian Somerhalder (Damon) is hot in this and is deliciously arrogant and funny. Nina Dobrev’s Elena is a much kinder and identifiable person than how she was originally written, and I’m warming up to her. This series wouldn’t have worked if Elena remained the stuck-up snow queen, icy bitch she was in the books. I like how they’re actually expanding Bonnie’s role more with her witch powers being much more fully developed. I’m really curious as to how the second half of this season will be and if it will stick to the main plot of the original story (especially in regards to the antagonist), but even if it doesn’t I’m hooked now!
Vampire Diaries returns on January 21 in the US with episode 11. In the UK, it will air on ITV in the new year.
I loved last season’s finale and was surprised to discover how much they revealed. Peter being actually from the other world (at least it was strongly implied), Walter having crossed over to the other world and stolen him, finally meeting William Bell. The finale was awesome! This season started off with just as a great episode: more reveals, more surprises. Great season, right? Well, kind of. I adore the archy bits of the show, and, while still entertaining, the stand alone episodes can be a bit of a drag. I understand they can’t make it too archy, that would scare off viewers and be difficult to keep up, but for me the archy episodes are just more interesting (and often less predictable).
I tried the Spot-the-Observer in every episode (if you hadn’t noticed yet, The Observer appears in every single episode in the background, just search for the YouTube video of that), but after like 5 minutes my brain forgets and isn’t paying attention to that anymore. I did like the Observer-centric episode, but it only left us with more questions: are there more Observers? What are they each specifically observing? Are they time travelers? Why was he named August? Argh!
I’d love to see more of the other world and William Bell; they are so key to all the mysteries. Also why haven’t we seen anymore of Olivia’s psychic abilities? I thought they’d revisit that this season? Anyhow, it’s still an interesting show and one of the more watchable sci-fi-ish stuff on TV right now.
Fringe will return on January 11th in the US and is currently airing on Sky1 in the UK.
This is one of the shows that has had lots of ups and downs the past years; it started out great (loved season 1 and 2), but after that it got a bit meh. I still watched it, I love the characters and the cases every week, but you could see it didn’t feel as good as the those initial two seasons. I’m glad I continued watching though, cause I’m really liking this season so far. There have been quite some changes for the interns and residents of Seattle Grace, and most of them for the better.
Mer and McDreamy are finally peacefully together and although there is still drama in their life, that drama is not about their love life. And it’s refreshing. It’s good to see them both in such a good place, with Mer being way more stable and the optimist, not more the dark and twisty one. I think there are enough interesting stories for them as a couple, without the drama being the never-ending loop of them splitting up and getting back together again.
Then there’s Christina and McArmy. Loving their tormented story. Although the addition of Teddy has me slightly worried. Not another triangle! Another good change in my eyes is less Izzy. I used to like her with Alex (and Denny in the 2nd season), but so far every episode without has felt better. There are so many other interesting stories this year: Mer and little Grey, Callie and Arizona, little Grey and Marc and Marc’s pregnant daughter, the new interns vs our old interns, the Chief’s downhill slide; so far I think this season has been much better than the the previous two. Grey’s Anatomy is once again a show I’m really looking forward to every week.
Grey’s Anatomy will return on January 14 in the US and will start airing season 6 in the UK in January.
Wow, season 6 already. Desperate Housewives hasn’t been “must-see” TV for me for ages (it’s had good and bads per season though), but it’s one of those shows you can easily watch while doing other stuff (be it folding up laundry or reading papers). The mysteries of this season are pretty intriguing: who strangled Julie and what is the new family on the block (the Bolen’s) hiding? Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos and Joey) as Angie Bolen is pretty interesting as our new ‘housewife’, kind of replacing Edie as the not very polished, says what’s on her mind character. But with a much more mysterious past. So how about the other housewives? Nothing really that pops out as “Ooh! That was exciting and such a great episode!”
Desperate Housewives return on January 3 in the US.
That’s it for this first part of the TV series halfway season review. Except the next ones in the next two weeks; haven’t reviewed loads of shows yet, like Flashforward, the new Melrose Place and the Big Bang Theory.
I always find it difficult to review TV shows. On one hand, I want to treat them the same way I do with movies: give my opinion on what I just saw, so that people can decide whether or not they want to watch it, without giving away any spoilers. On the other hand, I just want to geek out and start a discussion on what I thought about the show, with full spoilers in it. I can’t decide which to do here with the latest Doctor Who, so I’m doing both: I’ll first review the TV show normally, and then after a gigantic spoiler warning, I’ll put down my thoughts and ramblings on how the ep ended.
In this special, the Doctor ends up on Mars in the year 2059. Without realizing which year it initially is, he stumbles on the Mars colony station Bowie Base One, lead by captain Adelaide Brooke. Of course, trouble is afoot, with one of the crew members being infected by a mysterious life form. The Doctor soon figures out that the events of this day are set in stone and all he can do is watch how it all plays out in front of him…
I didn’t really like the previous two specials (The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead); in my opinion, they would have been okay as normal episodes in a full season, but they didn’t feel ‘special’ enough for, well, a special. For the first 40 minutes or so, the same goes for The Water of Mars: it feels pretty much like a filler episode. New characters who don’t get enough screen time for you to care about them, a ridiculously unscary monster-of-the-week (they somehow reminded me very much of Muppets) and lots and lots of running.
But then in the final quarter it all sort of comes together: the episode turns unexpectedly dark and leaves you hungering for more. It serves as a great buildup to the Christmas episodes, which (spoiler for those of you who have been living under a rock) will be David Tennant’s final two eps. The end of this episode only makes me realize how much I love Tennant’s Doctor, and I’m really sad to see him go. I’m keeping an open mind about the new guy, but Tennant is the main reason I started watching Doctor Who (I never watched the old series, and I couldn’t get into it when it first re-aired with Eccleston) and I know it won’t be the same without him.
Lindsay Duncan is great as captain Adelaide Brooke, this special’s sort of companion to the Doctor. She’s a strong character, although (like the Doctor) she gets relegated to running around for most of the episode. It’s only in the final minutes that she truly becomes interesting. Also: a mysterious person shows up on your Mars base, when your crew gets infected and you don’t for an instance think this mysterious person might be behind it?!?
As I said before, The Waters of Mars isn’t a great episode, but it’s a brilliant buildup to the finale with David Tennant. Unlike the previous two specials, it has gotten me hooked again to Doctor Who and I can’t wait how this will all end.
And now for the spoilery bit:
SPOILER ALERT * SPOILER ALERT * SPOILER ALERT
I really did like that last quarter of an hour. While the rest of the episode felt a bit flat, I was hooked by those final scenes. In my Watchmen review, I talked about the movie “high” (for lack of a better word) and I also have the same thing with TV shows.
I’ve always had this with most Doctor Who cliffhangers, and the same was with the ending of this episode. If there’s one thing the Doctor Who writers can do well, it’s building up (to be completely honest, most of the time this is then followed by letting us down with a disappointing finale). I know not everyone will agree with me, but I got that TV high while watching those final scenes unfold and was just glued to my screen.
The turning point for me was when the Doctor was just standing there, staring at how everybody else was going to their deaths. The pain on his face of having to see more people die and not being able to do anything about it. I actually cheered when he turned around and decided to help, to defy time and destiny.
In those final scenes the Doctor is going through some massive mood transitions, and as I understood it, that’s all because he’s trying to deal with his impending death. He can feel it coming, just as he sees the death of the Mars colony crew, and he doesn’t want to just stand by and watch. He HAS to do something about it, even though that means going against his own rules of never interfering and changing such an important moment in time. He knows it isn’t right, he knows that he shouldn’t be doing this, and for a brief moment, after Brooke commits suicide, he realizes he has gone too far, but it’s already too late. He’s on his path of battling his impending death, he won’t sit idly by and let it happen to him.
I’m guessing we’ll see the repercussions of these choices in the next episode. I saw that trailer when it came out at ComicCon and I am so excited to see that John Simm is back as the Master. Remember the final episode of season 3? After the Master was burnt on a pyre, a hand picked up his signet ring. We never got to see who that was, but my guess is that will be how the Master comes back now.
I am excited for the final two episodes, but I already have a feeling I know how this will play out: I’ll love the first episode (the one that airs on Christmas) which will end with an awesome cliffhanger. I’ll geek out and theorize and try to figure out what will happen, but ultimately I’ll be disappointed by the terrible finale. Russell Davies is brilliant in writing that build up cliffhanger episode, but the past two seasons’ finales were never as near as awesome as those cliffhangers.
I’m way behind on my TV watching; I’ve got a huge list of stuff to watch (Flash Forward, Community, Heroes, House, and it goes on and on). Anyway here are my thoughts on the stuff I watched last week:
Wow, I love this series. When it started last year, I wasn’t that convinced by it. It took to at least episodes 6 and 7 for me to really believe that Joss Whedon could pull it off again. And then the unaired Epitaph One… Amazing. This first episode of Dollhouse’s second season is pretty awesome too, although it would have helped to have a short ‘what happened again in the previous eps’ segment. That aside though, this episode kicks all kinds of ass; Echo and Ballard are great together, and I’m eager to find out how their relationship will develop. Especially now that Echo’s becoming more self aware. Next to that story line, you’ve got to love the scenes with Topher and Whiskey; I wish Amy Adams could have gotten more episodes this season.
How I Met Your Mother (5×01)
Robin and Barney! Barney and Robin! Barman and Robin! I love these two as a couple, and this season started out great for them. I knew they were going to pull some twist with the ‘Mother’. Last season ended with older Ted telling us that the Mother was in Ted’s lecture room. Turns out though it wasn’t his lecture room (for Architecture), but for Economics. There have been rumours though that How I Met Your Mother’s 100th episode (5×12) will bring us a step closer to the Mother…
The Big Bang Theory (3×01)
This TV show walks a fine, fine line. On the one hand it is filled with jokes only geeks and nerds will get, on the other side they’re actually making fun of this audience. Once in a while I still cringe at some of jokes (just because I know I do whatever it is they’re making fun of), but I think it’s gotten better. I’m still not sure about Penny and Leonard as a couple; they are cute together, but they’re not the Ross and Rachel type that the series is pushing them to be.
The Forgotten (1×01)
I watch my fair share of procedural dramas, and while occasionally enjoyable I’m not really looking to add yet another one to the huge list of things to watch. I’m not sure what to do yet with The Forgotten; it seems interesting, but I don’t think there’s enough there to hook me completely on to it. It’s about a civilian volunteers group who, after the police have failed, attempt to identify John and Jane Does. Christian Slater is okay as the lead ‘investigator’ who himself lost his daughter in a kidnapping and has never heard anything of her. The rest of the team is adequate, but there’s nothing that makes in want to invest in these characters. There’s no fun interaction between them or any intriguing gripping backstories like on most other shows.
The Good Wife (1×01)
This new show features Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the wife of a politician who has been jailed after a very public sex and corruption scandal. To provide for her two children, she returns back to her old job as a defense attorney, although she has to rebuild her reputation and position. When I initially heard about this show, I thought it wouldbe much more political and all about how this politician’s wife has to deal with the scandal and betrayal of her husband. Juicy stuff, right? It isn’t at all though; the show is basically just a legal drama with the scandal as an added element to stir it up a bit. I know people who will love to show, but it’s not something for me.
Vampire Diaries (1×02 & 1×03)
So I watched two more episodes of the Vampire Diaries, and I’m still not impressed. All the characters just seem so bland, none of them are interesting at all. Plus, why does every ‘ad’ cliffhanger end with a vampire ‘attack’? The first time was cheesy enough already, why repeat that a couple of times? I’m sorry Vampire Diaries, but even though you’re based on my beloved books, so far you haven’t been delivering at all.
Grey’s Anatomy (6×01)
We’re at the 6th season already? I remember being so hooked on this show that very first season, and while the show has had its ups and downs, I still remain as invested as I was that first season. And now we have our very first departure of the show (yeah, I know Burke left, but he didn’t die, so technically he could come back), George O’Malley. George is dead. I knew it was coming after last season, but the writers are just so mean and still manage to shock us. That moment when Lexie goes “No, it’s not him, George is taller”, I for a moment was actually expecting that to be true. And that only makes the impact that it is him so much more stronger. I still love how Grey’s Anatomy manages to have a theme in each episode and interweave it through all the story lines and patient cases. In this case the 5 stages of grief. Everybody is dealing with their grief differently (if you want to read more about this episode, you should follow Grey Matter, the blog of the writers). Also, did anyone notice that Meredith is pregnant? In real life that is, not in the show. They’ve been pretty smart and creative with covering it up.
Melrose Place (1×02 & 1×03)
I know it’s so cheesy and soapy, but I’m growing to like this show. I like how they’re using the flash backs to show us more about these characters; some of the flashbacks are completely ‘new’, while others actually come from the original series. Even though I never watched the original it’s kind of interesting to see these characters so many years later. I also liked this post from Buzz Sugar linking the current characters to their original series counterpart. So far my favourite characters are Violet (psycho, yet sweet ), Ella (bitchy PR agent), Jonah (the up and coming film director) and Lauren (the med student-turned-prostitute).
A quick note first: Thank you for all the questions for Joshua Jackson, Hugh Laurie and Joss Whedon. I had the Fringe conference call with Joshua Jackson yesterday; I have no idea how many bloggers/journalists were listening in on that call, but about halfway I decided to “stand in line” with my question and didn’t get a turn. This evening is the Joss Whedon one and tomorrow the House one (which was postponed). So just to clear things up, this is not a one-on-one interview, so I’d be even lucky to ask one of the questions. I’ll be posting the transcripts of the calls, as soon as they are available.
So the new TV season has started with loads of my favourite shows returning, plus a ton of new stuff. Instead of reviewing each of them individually I thought I quickly jot down my thoughts about those shows I’ve seen so far. Surprisingly most of the stuff that has premiered so far are the “girly” shows (Melrose Place, 90210, Gossip Girl, etc).
I love Blair and Chuck together; glad to see the writers didn’t decide to split them up during the summer. For me, those two will always be the most interesting characters Gossip Girl has. Dan remains as boring as ever, I couldn’t care less about Serena’s cry for attention from daddy (although I wonder who they’ll cast as her dad) and Jenny doesn’t even appear that much in this episode. Nate’s storyline could become interesting, plus I love Joanna Garcia (why did Privileged have to be cancelled?!?).
Hmm, yeah, not too sure about this. Like 90210, I never had seen the previous incarnation of the show, so didn’t have any familiarity at all with any of the characters. It doesn’t seem though as if you need that, but still there’s something missing in this show. Also none of the characters really stood out to me, and even now I’m struggling to remember who was introduced.
You know a show is in trouble when they’re already “rebooting” stuff in the second season. While I watched season 1 completely, it did have a lot wrong in it. Some of those stuff they have solved this season, but it’s still not there yet. For starters kicking Ethan out the show was a good thing in my eyes; I never liked his storylines that much. But replacing him with ‘Teddy Montgomery’? Come on, that actor is 30 year’s old and is playing a teenager?!? I don’t have a problem if the person actually looks like a teenager, but this guy? Totally unbelievable.
What I did like though is the trio that is now Naomi, Silver and Adrianna. I wish they would just write Annie out of the show already and focus more on the other three girls.
I loved the pilot of Glee; the songs were spinning in my head for days after seeing it. The second episode though was a bit meh; I didn’t like any of the songs that much, and almost none of the characters seem sympathetic yet. I want to like Rachel, but so far she’s just getting on my nerve.
As I expected, completely nothing like the books. It still could be a great TV show, but I’ll have to wait and see for a couple more episodes. At the moment, it’s feeling very much like a supernatural version of Roswell: shy girl meets broody hot guy with a secret. I’ll still keep watching this, but it’s got to bring more intrigue and mystery, and less pining and staring into each other’s eyes.
More shows are starting this week; I’ll be sure to update about them once I’ve seen them. In the mean time, what did you think of the season premieres so far? Discuss in the comments.
Leverage is a new series coming this fall (actually December) from Dean Devlin, the writer behind Universal Soldier, Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla (yeah, not too impressive, but still interesting).
Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) is an ex-insurance investigator, who once tracked down stolen goods and the thieves behind them. After the death of his son, due in part to an insurance company who didn’t want to pay for the treatment, Ford is approached to “re-acquire” stolen designs from an airplane manufacturer. He’s forced to work with individuals he at one time in the past crossed paths with: Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), a retrieval specialist; Alex Hardison (Aldis Hodge), a computer and gadget expert; and, Parker (Beth Riesgraf), a thief. Eventually they’re also joined by Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), a horrible on-stage actress, but con-artist extraordinaire.
Let me first make a couple of things clear. The version I watched had the music from Hustle under it. While this might make it through to the final cut, I’m guessing that was just a temporary thing. This means though that they could possibly change anything and everything in the time it takes until it eventually airs.
Leverage is a fun new series. It’s a combination of Ocean’s Eleven, The A-Team and any hustle/thief type of show. I’ve never watched Hustle, so I can’t really say if it’s anything like that or not. I’m not even sure if Leverage is based on it or just loosely inspired (“ooh, you know that British Hustling serie? Let’s make that but with Americans!”). Like Ocean’s Eleven it’s got a good worked-out plot, but I wonder if they’ll be able to keep it interesting for an entire season. It’s difficult to bring a smart story every single week, especially if you also want to try and surprise your viewers a bit on the way. Fingers crossed they can achieve that.
This is very much an ensemble series and the actors all have a great chemistry together (I’m hoping they won’t recast). Timothy Hutton is great as the slightly older mentor figure, who suddenly is playing on the other side, although I hope they don’t focus too much on his dead son story line. Christian Kane is interesting as Spencer; somehow I wouldn’t have imagined casting him in that role, but that’s the reason why it works. I loved Gina Bellman in Coupling and it’s great seeing her on TV again. Surprisingly she isn’t even the craziest character (although she has some great moments). That honour goes to Parker, played by Beth Riesgraf, and I’m curious to see more of her backstory. Finally, the computer geek Alex. There are a couple obvious geeky jokes in that pilot, but still I really liked the character.
The only problem I had with the show is that it felt a bit slow at times. Somethings were dragged out a bit too much and it would have worked better if those moments were a bit snappier. As I said before, that might still change and I’m hoping it will.
Just like The Mentalist Leverage is an easy to get into new TV show. There’s no real big season thread (maybe the dead son), and most episodes will be stand-alone. This will be another show going on my to-watch list, although I’m curious to see if they’ll change anything about it first.